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Sumo Logic offers free data ingest for log analytics

Data ingest is now free for new customers of Sumo Logic's SaaS log analytics product, as observability cost concerns and data volumes mount across the IT industry.

Sumo Logic has adjusted its pricing for new log analytics customers as exploding data volumes stand to outpace business growth throughout the observability market.

The move, dubbed Flex Licensing, for now only applies to data ingested into Sumo Logic's SaaS log analytics platform by new customers. It will set pricing according to the number of queries performed on the data. Pricing will be organized into three tiers -- small, medium and large -- with discounted prices at higher query volumes, according to Sumo Logic officials.

A pricing estimator on the vendor's website added this week shows that for low query volumes, the software will now be priced at $3.14 per terabyte of data scanned in North America; for medium query volumes, $2.57; and for high query volumes, such as those involved in Sumo's AI-driven log analytics tools, the price is $2.05 per terabyte of data scanned. The website estimator and Sumo officials did not give specific query volume numbers for each category this week. Under the new pricing terms, customers will also still pay for back-end storage resources.

Specifically how the new pricing will break down according to the number of queries will be important to clarify with customers, according to analysts.

Nancy Gohring, analyst, IDCNancy Gohring

"Getting away from ingest-based pricing is a good thing, because … you're not going to get very good insight or intelligence or analytics if you don't have the right data," said Nancy Gohring, an analyst at IDC. "But you've got to be careful not to discourage people to run queries -- that's the million-dollar question here, whether or not the way that they're structuring these [pricing] buckets is going to resonate with people and allow them to understand what their spending is likely to be."

Flex Licensing fine print

Sumo Logic's new pricing does not apply outside of log data, including metrics and traces and its security information and event management product. Company officials said existing customers will be offered the new pricing later this year, as the vendor establishes migration paths to the new approach. The new pricing plan is likely to represent a double-digit decrease in costs for customers compared with competitors that charge for ingest, according to Sumo execs, who did not specify how it will compare with the company's own existing prices.

One Sumo Logic customer said it's unlikely his company will send more log data into the Sumo back end because of the pricing changes, since it has already refined its log management hygiene to keep costs low.

"I was thinking that traces [were] also free, which would make it interesting for us," said Iwan Eising, service reliability architect team lead at ERP company Infor. "We're already logging pretty much everything that we need."

They're correct that the data volumes are humongous. It's [potentially] a real good reason not to do logging … and think twice about going to a vendor.
Iwan EisingService reliability architect team lead, Infor

Generally, however, Eising said he sees Flex Licensing as a timely and positive change.

"They're correct that the data volumes are humongous," he said. "It's [potentially] a real good reason not to do logging … and think twice about going to a vendor."

Data growth forces wider price reckoning

This move follows shifts in pricing by other log analytics and observability vendors, such as Splunk's cloud pricing option and Dynatrace's bulk data ingest pricing tier for its log analytics tools. Newer observability players such as Observe Inc. also offer free data ingest.

Analysts said further pricing shifts from other vendors are likely to follow.

"Removing data ingestion costs is somewhat unique, in that not many vendors are doing it," said Andy Thurai, an analyst at Constellation Research. "But across the board, the rapid digitization forced by COVID [led companies to] rapidly digitize, which means they don't have data hygiene principles in place … and then building fully native cloud apps and microservices are very chatty by nature."

The cost of gathering broad swaths of observability data for the kind of detailed analysis required to troubleshoot distributed apps can outpace the cost of operating an app, something vendors must counteract, especially if they want customers to centralize data collection on their platforms, Thurai said.

Here, Sumo Logic remains best known for its log analytics, rather than the events, metrics and traces also important for observability, Gohring and Thurai said, though it has some support for each.

However, consistency is another area where Sumo Logic's Flex Licensing plan will be a competitive strength, Gohring predicted.

"My understanding is that the [pricing query] buckets are for the term of the contract [with the customer]," she said. "The idea is that if you have a spike this weekend, you're not going to get a crazy bill."

Beth Pariseau, senior news writer for TechTarget Editorial, is an award-winning veteran of IT journalism covering DevOps. Have a tip?Email her or reach out on X @PariseauTT.

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